US/Chinese Collaborative Study: Investigation of Bottom Water Formation in Prydz Bay, Antarctica
Processess governing the formation of Antarctic bottom water (AABW) in the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean remain poorly described. As with AABW formation in more well studied regions of the Antarctic continent, global climate impacts of the source regions of this dense, cold water that help drive the global ocean thermohaline circulation are uncertain. A combination of (annual) continental shelf and slope moorings, seasonal (summer) hydrographic surveys on board the Chinese icebreaker M/V Xuelong, together with synthesis of historic and satellite data will be used to better constrain shelf processes and the atmosphere-ocean-ice interactions in the Prydz Bay region.
Despite the seeming remoteness of the study site, changes in the formation rate of AABW could potentially have impact on northern hemisphere climate via effects on the global heat budget and through sea-level rise in the coming decades. The project additionally seeks to promote international collaboration between Chinese and US researchers. The data collected will be broadly disseminated to the oceanographic community through the National Oceanography Data Center and Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Data Center.
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